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Pack your bags, we're going to Africa. Those words began author Beverly Anderson's odyssey into the world of adornment of women of color. Her former husband came home from work one day and informed her that he had successfully completed the requirements needed to become a Foreign Service officer of the U.S. Department of State. During their subsequent years living in Nigeria, the most populated country on the African continent, and Egypt, exploring Africa, Europe, and the Middle and Far East, Anderson fell in love with the elaborate ornamentation of the women she encountered.
Gems: Remarkable Women of Color Adorned features striking color photographs documenting the vivid beauty and style of bejeweled women of color of all ages. Each woman is shown in her favorite jewels, accompanied by her thoughts on fashion and beauty. Subjects range from the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia to jazz legend Nancy Wilson. Other participants include entrepreneur and radio personality Cathy Hughes, celebrated actress Melba Moore, and Lynn Hobson, CEO and founder of urban PR firm Hobbiecom. Famed civil rights leader Dr. Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women and winner of the 2004 Congressional Gold Medal, has written an introductory essay.
As Beverly Anderson puts it, How could one be immersed in the drama of Queen Nefertiti and King Tutankhamen and not develop an appreciation for adornment? In Jewels, she reveals the age-old power of adornment to enhance beauty and reflect the individuality of its wearer: to wordlessly impress, entice, and enchant. The exotic inspiration Anderson found in her travels through Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Israel, Syria, and Turkey is evident in the spirit and dignity of the women captured by acclaimed photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson. These women have made jewelry a significant part of their daily lives as well as an expression of cultural, familial, and personal identity.
Brilliant colors in cloth, beads, stones, and jewels have illuminated the beauty of women of color since the beginning of time. Gems continues this tradition by celebrating successful, celebrated women of all ages, ethnicities, and sizes. True role models, women who have worked hard to get what they want, whether it be running a corporation or having a family. They aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, but would never give up the glamour and fun of dressing up.
With over 80 fabulous feminine portraits, Gems: Remarkable Women of Color Adorned reveals the secrets of style in the words of women who know the meaning of beauty and elegance, and want to share their secrets.